kleinVerhaal is a participatory art practice in Ostend, Belgium. Operating as a non-governmental organisation, it is a space where people across the society, including the most vulnerable, dive into the arts.
kleinVerhaal regularly joins forces with professional, committed artists from the field of film and music to facilitate open studios in which a colourful mix of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and ages to shape their ideas.
With a variety of projects throughout the year, the organisation questions and documents the complexity of today’s society in unique creations and stimulating actions.
YaGoon is a social music project led by Yamen Martini and assisted by Gonzalo Arévalo Stoyka. Launched in 2019, the initiative takes traditional music and well-known songs as a starting point – and then re-imagines them with a contemporary twist, giving them a surprising new identity. The diversity of YaGoon members and collaborators is at the heart of the swinging and grooving sound of this project.
During the lockdown period, YaGoon produced a number of music videos by combining individual sound and image recordings in an innovative way.
In February 2022, Yagoon embarked on the Dabke sessions journey. Dabke is a Levantine-Arabic traditional line and circle dance popular in various parts of the Middle East. On 24 November 2022, Yagoon released “The Dabke sessions EP” at kleinVerhaal, with five songs written by Yamen Martini. The compositions are inspired by traditional Dabke songs from the Middle East, with an addition of different lines and harmonies.
For Must, a spiritual Sufi song written in the honour of the most revered Sufi saint of Sindh, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177–1274) of Sehwan Sharif, YaGoon cooperated with talented Indian singer Sukoon Bablani.
Thanks to this video filmed during the lockdown, the Flemish polders and Indian fields suddenly seem to be very close to each other.
- Sukoon Bablani (vocals)
- Haroun Minhas (guitar)
- David Colameo (bass)
- Gonzalo Arévalo Stoyka (keyboard)
- Yamen Martini (trumpet, backing vocals, percussions)
1/1 Sessies invites young musicians from various backgrounds to the StudiO.666 for one-on-one sessions with musicians and coaches Yamen Martini and Gonzalo Arévalo. During these sessions, they can tinker with their repertoire, receive feedback and progress with their own compositions step by step. With the aim to provide a platform to young musicians who cannot rely on a musical network, 1/1 Sessies explores the possibilities of connecting musicians and creating new formations. Explore the initiative on SoundCloud!
Coached by renowned musicians and producers Jan Daelman, Thijs Troch, James De Graef and Yamen Martini, MUZINE enables young musicians, bands and ensembles from all backgrounds and (sub)genres to jam and exchange ideas, receive tailor-made coaching and feedback about their repertoire. Here, participants push their artistic boundaries, try new things and sharpen their skills as well as expand their network, making it easier for them to find their way to the local and regional stages.
Sound recordings of each session are mixed and uploaded to the MUZINE SoundCloud, which functions as a digital sound archive.
The Ostend Street Orkestra
In 2014 there was fierce commotion about the then growing group of homeless people in Ostend as public opinion turned against them. KleinVerhaal was looking for an artistic and positive answer – and founded The Ostend Street Orkestra (TOSO). Under the coaching of Ilse Duyck, Giovanni Barcella, Bart Maris and Yamen Martini, TOSO has grown into a music orchestra with about 25 musicians from a wide range of social and musical backgrounds. With a constantly changing repertoire, the TOSO experience was brought to the stages of De Grote Post, Leffingeleuren, C-Mine, Manifiësta, De Figuranten and De Vooruit arts center, among others.
A unique experience, a crossover of musical genres, stage and street, image and sound and between audience and musicians, TOSO showed how encounters give resilience and hope to a diverse mix of people. In 2018 TOSO was awarded the Ultimas – the Flemish Culture Awards – for best amateur arts.
Gilgamesh – The Ostend Street Orkestra
MOVE is the fifth inclusive theatre project of the Cultural Centre of Mortsel. It’s a unique play that wants to contribute to the social participation and integration of people with disabilities for an inclusive society without barriers.
Directed by Caroline Rottier and with music composed by Piet Maris, Martini Rob Kanters and Yamen Martini, MOVE is a poetic story with beautiful images and live music, brought by 28 disabled players and professional artists who have improvised for a year on the theme of ‘movement’.
“An adventure of brave people… strange, grim, poetic and funny!”
Lettres à Nour (2017)
Yamen Martini composed music for Lettres à Nour, an epistolary play by Franco-Moroccan Islamologist and researcher Rachid Benzine, in the repertoire of the Theatre of Liège, Belgium.
Lettres à Nour tells the story of the exchanges between a father, a practicing Muslim intellectual – living his religion as a message of peace and love -, and his daughter who left for Iraq to join the man she has married in secret and who is a lieutenant of Daesh.